Steve Jobs was religiously complicated. He rejected Christianity outright and has been reported practicing Zen Buddhism. Essentially, though, he was probably an atheist.
Jobs was a Democrat and supported Barack Obama, even though, as the owner of a multinational corporation, he took many views of business-friendly Republicans.
Steve Jobs was born in Southern California to a Muslim Syrian immigrant and an American woman. However, the couple put Steve up for adoption and he was taken in by Paul and Clara Jobs.
Regarding Christianity, Jobs once told an interviewer that at age 13, he asked a preacher if God knew about starving children and the preacher replied that yes, God knew everything. Jobs never again considered Christianity.
So where did he go from there? Well, it seems like he was confused. He once said:
Sometimes I believe in God, sometimes I don't. I think it's 50-50 maybe. But ever since I've had cancer, I've been thinking about it more. And I find myself believing a bit more. I kind of – maybe it's cause I want to believe in an afterlife. That when you die, it doesn't just all disappear. The wisdom you've accumulated. Somehow it lives on.
At other times, he just sounds totally atheist:
I saw my life as an arc. And that it would end and compared to that nothing mattered. You're born alone, you're gonna die alone. And does anything else really matter? I mean what is it exactly, is it that you have to lose Steve? You know? There's nothing.
What we do know was that Jobs was into Zen Buddhism. He regularly practiced meditation, traveled to India in search of a personal guru, and even had a Buddhist officiate his marriage in 1991.
On the fence
Politically, Jobs seemed rather confused as well. Before his death, he offered to make Obama's political campaign advertisements for the 2012 campaign but he openly criticized Obama–to his face–about immigration issues, saying:
You're headed for a one-term presidency.
At least he cared enough to tell him, right?
Jobs was, above all else, a businessman–but with a Southern California liberal twist. His upbringing turned him into a social liberal who expressed concern over environmental issues, race issues, and generally had a progressive view towards society.
His corporate side, however, was aligned more with Republican values. He once told Obama that regulations on businesses made it impossible to have factories in America and that education in America was just plain screwed.
Still, Apple actually managed to stay mostly un-political, at least compared to Microsoft and other tech companies. Jobs just wanted to focus on making a good product and, as a result, Apple never even started a political lobbying organization.
Jobs was complicated. He was a thinker who doubted social norms and even himself. I guess, in a lot of ways, he was a regular guy.